Three Stress-Free Ways To Beat a Meaningful Use Audit
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To prepare for the likelihood of a future Meaningful Use audit, it is important to plan ahead. Use the following proven and stress-free ways to beat a Meaningful Use audit:
- Understand the requirements. Although this suggestion seems obvious, many practices do not invest the time to understand the evidence they must collect over the reporting period to pass a Meaningful Use audit. If the practice has not collected this data over time, it is very difficult or perhaps impossible to collect it within a period of weeks before an audit. If in doubt, save everything.
- Define, validate and run the Meaningful Use program’s required reports. Prepare a list of the reports needed and share the information with the designated person(s) assigned to accomplish the task. Check the CMS checklist if in doubt about the required reports.
- Perform mock audits. Perhaps more than any other suggestion, the performance of regular mock audits is an excellent way to prepare for the real thing. During this process, it is possible to identify additional procedures or data necessary to present information in a future audit.
Since the Meaningful Use audit relating to the Medicare/Medicaid EHR Incentive Program can focus on a broad range of items, it is impossible to identify all documents the auditor might request. Different auditors focus their attention on specific requirements and standards. For example:
- The Meaningful Use audit can be a prepayment or post-payment audit. It may be conducted as a desk or field audit. In the on-site field audit, the auditor(s) may request the demonstration of the certified EHR.
- The audit can occur at any time in the reporting period. For instance, if the provider previously attested that it keeps all required audit documentation (including the submitted attestation) for a minimum of six years, it must do so. The documentation must be maintained in an accessible but secure fashion. Documentation that supports the hospital’s payment calculations should also follow retention requirements.
- Providers may have as little as two weeks to respond to the audit notification. For this reason, the required information and documentation used for the attestation must be maintained in an organized, available audit file. The stress of assembling or pulling together the file in a short period is completely avoidable when the provider performs these tasks as part of the routine.
Since the number of Meaningful Use audits is rising—and the failure rate for first-time hospital audits is almost five percent—it is essential to plan ahead. Eligible professionals (EPs) face a higher likelihood of audit failure—more than 20 percent of EPs fail.
Passing the Meaningful Use audit the first time is crucial to save time an money. An audit failure appeal is challenging because little guidance is available at this time.